Wikipedia defines culture as: The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group. Even if your company does not have a vision and mission statement, your company does have a culture, by default! The attitudes and behaviours of you and your staff impact your employees, which impact your customers, which impact the public’s perception of your company, all of which ultimately impacts your bottom line.
The performance of your employees directly impacts the success of your business, therefore it is critical to know about your employees views i.e. Are they pleased with where they work or do they view working as drudgery? Are they afraid to take a risk for fear of punitive consequences, or do they operate with a sense of empowerment? Do they sense that their supervisor genuinely wants them to grow and succeed or do they feel used?
As consumers, we get a peek into a company’s culture very quickly. It can start with the first phone call – with how we are greeted. All of us can recall negative experiences, satisfactory experiences, and WOW experiences; each of which determines where we spend our dollar. Which type of experience does your corporate culture foster?
Slick attempts at PR cannot offset the prevailing reality of your customer’s experiences. They ultimately vote with their feet, which impacts your bottom line.
A well formulated written culture statement provides the “Rules of the Game” for your team. Just like a football field, your team has freedom to move about the entire field, but the moment they step on the sidelines they are “out of bounds”. A culture statement communicates what is acceptable and what is not. It provides values that guide attitude and behaviour and provides freedom within boundaries.
How do you begin crafting a culture statement? The business owner sets the goals and the team sets the environment. Start by listing your three most important values as the leader of your company. Then assemble your core team and have them list:
- Their three most important values.
- What they perceive to be your customer’s three most important values in doing business with your company.
- The three most important values for which you and your team want your company to be known.
This does not mean that your culture statement should have 12 points. You might find that each has some values in common, or you might find that you want more than 12 points to adequately define the culture that you desire.
To be effective, just as in the case of the vision and mission statements, the culture statement must be consistently well communicated throughout the organization.
Everyone must have the power to hold others accountable with no hierarchal constraints. If the playmaker runs out of bounds, they should be called on it. As the owner of your business, you have the power and the responsibility to overtly influence the attitudinal and behavioural environment experienced by your employees and customers...and the bottom line!
I would love to hear from you on how this information has helped you or if you have other tactics or strategies that help you get stuff done.